It was 15 years ago on October 24th that my sister Debbie passed tragically in a car accident where she was a passenger. Every time the road accident statistics are released annually – I cringe that she was once a part of those stats. Never will I forget that early morning hour knock on my door to find my mother standing there. Your heart stops beating, you can’t breath and a sense of disbelief sets in as you just know it’s bad news, it’s a death and it’s a family member before a word is spoken. I opened my door, panic set in when I heard the knock and all I could muster to my mother when I opened the glass door was ‘who is it’ – Debbie, she answered. My legs gave in as I collapsed in my mothers arms. The tears flowed, and still do at the sound of her name. My sister had just arrived in South Africa and for the first time since I was 5 years old – we were going to live in the same country. We spent a wonderful, treasured filled two months together before she made her way down to Cape Town where she would settle in her new job as a journalist. I take great comfort in knowing she met my husband who was just a friend at the time. Debbie told me one day while sitting at the breakfast table discussing boyfriends, friends and life – that ‘he is the one’ Never I told her – I have no attraction towards him and only see him as a friend. She saw things in him I didn’t. The way he watched me when at family functions, dotted on me and wouldn’t give up trying for more than friendship. I joked he was my stalker. I dated other men to throw him off and even called him out one night 30km to help my date start his car that broke down. I still didn’t see just how much this man loved me. Many nights he would visit and eat every ounce of food in my kitchen, which annoyed me as he ate my entire grocery budget in 1 week. Our friendship blossomed over time even though I didn’t love him the same way he loved me. Here we are – 14 years of marriage later and going strong. I often think of that conversation Debs and I shared and wonder if she knew something back then I just didn’t.
Life isn’t fair is it. I’ve learnt that all too young, very early on. I’ve also learnt just how much life is a gift and very fragile too. My lifes mantra of ‘Remember yesterday, Live for today and Hope for tomorrow’ are lessons life has taught me. And I do just that. My hubby was a pallbearer at Debbies funeral. I wish she had more time for him to get to know her but two months were better than no months. And he shares my journey of grief even if on another level.
RIP Debs – love you to the moon and back always, and we still dance and sing along to ABBA 🙂